INNOVATE

Here Are the 16 Most Innovative Countries in the World, Ranked

The U.S. is listed at No. 4.

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BY Chris Weller - 16 Jun 2017

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PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Since 2008, Cornell University, INSEAD business school, and the World Intellectual Property Organization have released the annual Global Innovation Index.

It's essentially a ranking of the most innovative countries in the world.

This year's winners are no strangers to the top of the list, dominating in seven general categories: research, infrastructure, institutions, market and business sophistication, and a commitment to knowledge and creativity.

The most innovative countries teach creatively, enforce progressive laws, do business intelligently, and live on the cutting edge.

16. Hong Kong

The region has dipped nine spots since 2013 and is falling every year, due mostly to waning patent filings and education scores. However, the report finds Hong Kong still plays a major a role in the global economy, particularly because of its infrastructure and how robust its market has become due to investment and trade opportunities.

16. Hong Kong -; The region has dipped nine spots since 2013 and is falling every year, due mostly to waning patent filings and education scores. However, the report finds Hong Kong still plays a major a role in the global economy, particularly because of its infrastructure and how robust its market has become due to investment and trade opportunities.Bobby Yip/Reuters

 

15. France

Up three places from 2016, France's greatest strengths lie in the market sophistication category, specifically with venture capital deals, the report finds. It also places near the top in research and development.

15. France -; Up three places from 2016, France's greatest strengths lie in the market sophistication category, specifically with venture capital deals, the report finds. It also places near the top in research and development.

Christophe Ena/AP Images

14. Japan

Known for its manufacturing and technology sector, Japan ranks highest in infrastructure and patent filings. Last year it missed cracking the top 15 by one place.

14. Japan -; Known for its manufacturing and technology sector, Japan ranks highest in infrastructure and patent filings. Last year it missed cracking the top 15 by one place.Issei Kato/Reuters

 

13. Iceland

As the country bounces back from financial woes, it's making storage of the world's internet data its primary goal. Iceland has been ranked 13th three years in a row.

13. Iceland -; As the country bounces back from financial woes, it's making storage of the world's internet data its primary goal. Iceland has been ranked 13th three years in a row.Stringer/Reuters

 

12. Luxembourg

The tiny country's latest ranking comes from high scores in creative outputs, such as feature films and printed books.

12. Luxembourg -; The tiny country's latest ranking comes from high scores in creative outputs, such as feature films and printed books.Charles Platiau/Reuters

 

11. Republic of Korea

According to the Index, South Korea's greatest asset is its education sector. The country has also seen tremendous growth in research and development.

11. Republic of Korea -; According to the Index, South Korea's greatest asset is its education sector. The country has also seen tremendous growth in research and development.POOL New/Reuters

 

10. Ireland

Down three places in the ranking since 2016, Ireland is still recognized for its infrastructure and creative outputs, like its thriving design culture.

10. Ireland -; Down three places in the ranking since 2016, Ireland is still recognized for its infrastructure and creative outputs, like its thriving design culture.Giuseppe Milo/Flickr

 

9. Germany

The country ranks at the top of the list's measurement of patent creation, and has strong technology output, especially in automobile technology.

9. Germany -; The country ranks at the top of the list's measurement of patent creation, and has strong technology output, especially in automobile technology.Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

 

8. Finland

Though it hovered in the top five for the last several years, Finland has fallen slightly this year due to declining rankings in technology and research. It still ranks first overall in education, though.

8. Finland -; Though it hovered in the top five for the last several years, Finland has fallen slightly this year due to declining rankings in technology and research. It still ranks first overall in education, though.Lehtikuva Lehtikuva/Reuters

 

7. Singapore

One of the most consistently highly ranked countries, Singapore stands out for its political environment and ecological sustainability.

7. Singapore -; One of the most consistently highly ranked countries, Singapore stands out for its political environment and ecological sustainability.Edgar Su/Reuters

 

6. Denmark

Denmark leads for its efficient system of government, large quantity of researchers, and quality of education. It's moved up two spots since 2016.

6. Denmark -; Denmark leads for its efficient system of government, large quantity of researchers, and quality of education. It's moved up two spots since 2016.Scanpix Denmark/Reuters

 

5. United Kingdom

The UK's success in infrastructure, such as the London Crossrail, buoy it near the top. But the country has lower scores in education and productivity.

5. United Kingdom -; The UK's success in infrastructure, such as the London Crossrail, buoy it near the top. But the country has lower scores in education and productivity.Toby Melville/Reuters

 

4. United States

The US held steady in its fourth-place ranking since 2016, most notably due to the strength of its global-facing markets, the value of its stock trades, and its widespread implementation of internet technology.

4. United States -; The US held steady in its fourth-place ranking since 2016, most notably due to the strength of its global-facing markets, the value of its stock trades, and its widespread implementation of internet technology.Carlo Allegri/Reuters

 

3. Netherlands

With a high volume of patents filed, the Netherlands leads the survey's business sophistication rankings. The country also falls near the top in the categories of knowledge and technology outputs, which include things like inventions and trademarks.

3. Netherlands -; With a high volume of patents filed, the Netherlands leads the survey's business sophistication rankings. The country also falls near the top in the categories of knowledge and technology outputs, which include things like inventions and trademarks.Cris Toala Olivares/Reuters

 

2. Sweden

Well-designed universities and high-achieving graduates have kept Sweden in the top three for the last six years.

2. Sweden -; Well-designed universities and high-achieving graduates have kept Sweden in the top three for the last six years.Gunnar Grimnes/Flickr

 

1. Switzerland

The country has been number one since 2011 because of its knowledge-based economy and ability to turn innovative thinking into lucrative projects. For example, local bank UBS is now using virtual reality to project investment portfolios to its clients.

1. Switzerland -; The country has been number one since 2011 because of its knowledge-based economy and ability to turn innovative thinking into lucrative projects.  For example, local bank UBS is now using virtual reality to project investment portfolios to its clients.Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.